GINA McCarthy, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, went to China this week to discuss regulation of the production of carbon dioxide amid concerns about global warming.
This is an opportunity to negotiate environmental regulation in a manner that truly protects the world instead of merely crippling American industry.
Indeed, the United States has rolled back its emissions of carbon dioxide to 1992 levels while other nations have increased their carbon dioxide production.
But while the EPA administrator is willing to travel across the world to discuss the issue at length with foreign nationals, she and President Obama are unwilling to fly one state over to discuss the issue with West Virginians, who are the nation's second-largest producer of coal and who live in the state most reliant on coal for cheap electricity.
"It is unfortunate that Gina McCarthy continues to hold energy hearings across the country and across the world and still refuses to travel to the frontlines here in West Virginia," Sen. Joe Manchin wrote.
"If she wants to discuss how we can clean up the
environment and reduce emissions, she should come to our state, where some of our top-producing mines are less than five hours outside of Washington. We have expressed over and over our willingness to have an honest conversation about balancing our energy and environmental needs. If we are going to find the technology, let's do it here in America and in West Virginia."
Of course McCarthy should visit West Virginia to see for herself the people whose lives will be most affected by her new rules.
That Congress allows unelected political appointees to make such decisions is contrary to the government created in the Constitution. That these bureaucrats refuse to meet with the people to work out these rules is counterproductive.
Private industry has had many successes in reducing air pollution. According to the EPA's own figures, from 1980 to 2008, industry reduced emissions of carbon monoxide by 58 percent, ozone by 49 percent, lead by 96 percent, nitrogen dioxide by 40 percent and sulfur dioxide by 56 percent.
The difference between then and now is the EPA worked with industry officials instead of the Chinese. McCarthy should add West Virginia to her itinerary.